By John Houle
If you are still on the fence regarding the effectiveness of social media for your business, then I urge you to read on to learn about some real-life examples of how social media can help your community and promote sales.
Additionally, if you have already embraced social media to communicate your message, you may find some practical advice in this article.
But first, if you haven’t bought in yet, or you need some justification as to why you’re investing in social media, keep in mind the following:
- 27 percent of time spent online is with social media, and women spend 30 percent more time on social media than men;
- 70 percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends;
- Approximately 46 percent of online users count on social media when making a purchasing decision;
- And, the total amount of minutes people spend on Facebook each month is 700 billion.
If you’re starting out in social media, or considering investing more time and resources, keep in mind these actual case studies:
A local insurance agency decided this year to start a company Facebook page. They added photos and content and engaged the staff to like their own company and recommend to friends. They were able to garner 77 likes organically, and we recommended two new strategies to increase their connections: 1) hold a contest, and with every new like, that person would be entered into a drawing to win a free iPad; 2) work with a local charity, and for every new like a donation would be made. The agency opted to help promote a charity very near and dear to them. A local woman had been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and the agency wanted to help raise money for her family. The agency sent out an eblast to all of their contacts, and the promotion went viral within hours. The end result was 733 new likes and considerable donations, not only from the agency but from other businesses and people wanting to also aide the family. The comments from people in the community continue to come in long after the promotion has ended. In addition to helping a family in their community, the agency also benefited from the extraordinary good will it generated.
Another business decided to utilize social media to announce the hiring of their new salesman and created a new Facebook page solely for him. They also ran a contest to give away an iPad, and offered several opportunities to improve the odds of winning. People received a number of virtual raffle tickets for connecting with the salesman’s page, and even more tickets for allowing him to quote their business. This provided the new salesman with an innovative way to connect with family and friends and softly sell his company’s products. The company netted thousands of dollars in new business and provided a jump-start for new sales initiative.
Whether you decide to partner with a charity or give away an iPad, there are applications you can use to help manage your promotions. These applications lend a more professional look to your page, and help you keep track of all your new contacts.
When social media works, you can expect more traffic to your website, increased referrals, and overall improved brand recognition. It takes work and a commitment from senior management. In fact, everyone in your company should be educated on the organization’s social media goals. In terms of commitment, you need to spend a minimum of 15 minutes per day to just get in the game, but to be aggressive a commitment of 2 hours per day is necessary. But as the previous examples have illustrated, your efforts can result in a substantial benefit to your company.